Tuesday, March 23, 2010

10 States join forces to sue Federal Government over Health Care bill

In a twist of fate several states have joined in a lawsuit challenging the Health Care Bill passed Sunday evening by the House of Representatives.

The Utah Attorney General's Office announced that it will join several states in a lawsuit challenging the health care reform legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.

“This health care reform bill includes an unprecedented mandate that requires every U.S. citizen to buy health insurance or face a penalty. This mandate and other provisions violate the U.S. Constitution and infringe on individual and state rights,” said Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. Who believes “This lawsuit will help make sure the rights and the interests of American citizens are protected." Will it really?

The attorneys general of Utah, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Nebraska, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas and Washington have agreed to file the lawsuit if the president signs this bill into law. Other states are expected to join in the litigation.

This appears to be a dichotomy; the various states involved require every occupant of a motor vehicle to use a seat belt, or to be penalized if they don’t, in addition most require motor cycle riders to wear a helmet while operating their motorcycle, or they also face a penalty! We ask, “What is the difference?”

The States have enacted these forms of legislation under their assumed “police Powers”.

Knowing that the Courts generally review statutes in context to the Preamble to the US Constitution, we can consider the potential outcome of this planned litigation:

An example of the way courts utilize the Preamble is Ellis v. City of Grand Rapids 257 F. Supp. 564 (W.D. Mich. 1966) substantively, the case was about eminent domain. The City of Grand Rapids wanted to use eminent domain to force landowners to sell property in the city identified as "blighted", and convey the property to owners that would develop it in ostensibly beneficial ways: in this case, to St. Mary's Hospital, a Catholic organization. This area of substantive constitutional law is governed by the Fifth Amendment, which is understood to require that property acquired via eminent domain must be put to a "public use". (this concept has now been modified under the current supreme court) In interpreting whether the proposed project constituted a "public use", the court pointed to the Preamble's reference to "promot[ing] the general Welfare" as evidence that "[t]he health of the people was in the minds of our forefathers". "[T]he concerted effort for renewal and expansion of hospital and medical care centers, as a part of our nation's system of hospitals, is as a public service and use within the highest meaning of such terms. Surely this is in accord with an objective of the United States Constitution: '* * *to promote the general Welfare

However, the issue before us is more clearly defined, in promoting the General welfare of the people, can Congress require, then impose a penalty for a Citizens failure to obtain medical insurance? If the various Supreme courts have upheld the States right to require occupants of a motor vehicle to wear seat belts or to face a penalty, then certainly the US Government may hold this same right.

Yet, even if this provision should be struck down as being unconstitutional it will not affect the overall intent of the Health Care act.